Since the dawn of Philadelphia sports in 1883 with the Philadelphia Phillies, Philadelphia has been blessed with great and Hall of Fame-caliber athletes.
Many of those athletes who have played for the Phillies are not well-known.
From the comically bad to the legendary in their own time, these 10 should bring to light more about the Phillies past players. So, after hours of tireless research and question asking... without further posturing, here are ten Philadelphia Phillies that you never knew about.
10. Bob Uecker, Catcher, 1966-1967
That's right the comedic genius of the commentator from the Major League movies was a Phillie. Was he any good? Uecker makes Mario Mendoza look like a Hall of Fame hitter. The only thing funnier than his acting was his hitting.
Career with Philadelphia stats: 96 Games, 242 AB, 49 Hits, 37 RBI, .202 BA
But not all was bad with Uecker. He was a solid defensive player behind the plate. Here's a quote of comedic value by Uecker on catching a knuckleball: "I always thought the knuckleball was the easiest pitch to catch. Wait'll it stops rolling, then go to the backstop and pick it up."
Career fielding with Philadelphia: 73 Games, 481 Total Chances (TC), 435 Put Outs (PO), 8 Errors (E), .972 FPCT
9. Julio Franco, Shortstop/Second Baseman, 1982
One of the "5 for 1" players traded for Von Hayes. It was said that Julio Franco had problems turning the double play. But if you look at Franco's career fielding numbers at turning the double play, you will see that he had no problem turning it.
Comparing Von Hayes to Julio Franco
Julio Franco career offensive numbers (23 seasons): 2527 Games, 8677 AB, 2586 Hits, 1194 RBI, 173 Home Runs, 281 SB, .298 BA
Von Hayes career offensive numbers (12 seasons):1495 Games, 5249 AB, 1402 Hits, 143 Home Runs, 696 RBI, 253 SB, .267 BA
You tell me who got the better of that "five for one" deal.
8. Tito Francona, Outfielder, 1967
Yes, the father of current Red Sox and former Phillies manager, Terry Francona. He did not play many games with the Phillies. Francona was later released by the Phillies in 1967 and his contract was purchased by the Atlanta Braves.
Career with Philadelphia: 27 Games, 73 AB, 15 Hits, 3 RBI, .205 BA
Career (total): 1719 Games, 5121 AB, 1395 Hits, 125 Home Runs, 656 RBI, .272 BA
With No. 8 that brings us to our next segment: the brothers of Hall of Fame ballplayers, in which after giving a brief description of their time with the Phillies, I will then compare them to their brother(s) or other family members.
The Brothers/Family Segment
7. Frank Torre, First Baseman, 1962-1963
Yes, the Phillies have always had the wrong brother, Torre, DiMaggio, Giambi, Leiter for some odd reason. Number seven brings us to: Frank Torre. Played two seasons with the Phillies. In those two seasons, Torre hit .286 with 1 HR and 30 RBI.
His brother is none other than former Major League catcher, New York Yankee manager and current Los Angeles Dodgers manager, Joe Torre.
The argument could be made that Phillies had the wrong brother, in this case I do not know the answer.
Comparing the two Torres' career numbers:
Joe Torre (18 Seasons) 3B, 1B, C
2209 Games, 7874 AB, 2342 Hits, 252 HR, 1185 RBI, 779 BB, 1094 SO, .297 BA
Frank Torre (7 Seasons) 1B
714 Games, 1482 AB, 404 Hits, 13 HR, 179 RBI, 155 BB, 64 SO, .273 BA
If you look at the numbers, yes, Joe Torre was the better brother. But Joe, struck-out a lot. But Frank only played seven seasons. (No 1961 season for Frank was given at any place I looked)
6. Vince DiMaggio, Outfielder, 1945-1946
As always in pure Philadelphia Phillies fashion, we brought in the wrong brother. This time it was brother to the Legendary Yankee Clipper, Joltin' Joe DiMaggio; Vince DiMaggio. What? You thought I was going to say Joe or Dom?
Vince was the eldest of the three DiMaggios of baseball. Vince in two seasons with the Phillies hit .258 with 19 HR and 85 RBI. All of the Dimaggio family were blessed with a thunderous bat.
Comparing the three DiMaggios of baseball:
Joe DiMaggio, Outfielder, 1936-1951
In 13 seasons: 1736 Games, 6821 AB, 2214 Hits, .325 BA, 361 HR, 1537 RBI,
Vince DiMaggio, Outfielder, 1937-1946
In 10 Seasons: 1110 Games, 3849 AB, 959 Hits, .249 BA, 125 HR, 584 RBI
Dom DiMaggio, Outfielder, 1940-1953
In 11 seasons: 1399 Games, 5640 AB, 1680 Hits, .298 BA, 87 HR, 618 RBI
In my own opinion, I'd take all three DiMaggio's. Joltin' Joe in Center, Vince in Right, and Dom in Left.
5. Jeremy Giambi
Steroids or no steroids, number five brings us Jeremy Giambi, brother of current Oakland Athletics Designated Hitter: Jason Giambi.
In one season, actually half a season, Giambi hit .244 with 12 HR and 28.
His stats don't even compare to his brother, Jason...so it's not even worth an effort on my part to compare the stats, but! I will anyway, because I'm that kind of guy.
Jason Giambi, First Baseman/ Designated Hitter, 1995-present
In 14 Seasons: 1850 Games, 6332 AB, 1812 Hits, 396 HR, 1279 RBI, .286 BA
Jeremy Giambi, Outfielder/ First Baseman, 1998-2005
In 6 seasons: 510 Games, 1417 AB, 372 Hits, 52 HR, 209 RBI, .263 BA
4. Mark Leiter, Pitcher, 1997-1998
In two seasons with Philadelphia, Mark went 17-22 with 23 saves in 271.4 Innings Pitched and a ERA of 4.61. In those two seasons, Mark had an ERA+ of 99 and a WHIP of 1.401 (1.4095 rounded up).
Comparing the two Leiters' Career stats:
Al Leiter, Pitcher, 1987-2006
In 19 Seasons: .551 WPCT, 162-132, 2391.0 IP, 1974 SO, 1163 BB, 3.80 ERA, 4.27 lgERA, 112 ERA+, 1.386 WHIP
Mark Leiter, Pitcher, 1990-2001
In 11 seasons: .471 WPCT, 65-73, 1184.1 IP, 892 SO, 424 BB, 4.57 ERA, 4.22 lgERA, 92 ERA+, 1.375 WHIP
(lgERA and ERA+ are adjusted values)
So who is the better pitcher? I'd take Al over Mark any day. Al won a World Series, no wait! TWO World Series rings! One in 1993 and one in 1997.
And that concludes our family segment.
3. Lonnie Smith, Outfielder, 1978-1981
I did know a lot about him until now. According to my Pops, he was an "adventure" in the outfield. What mistakes he made in the outfield could be made up by his speed. Could have been more useful if the Phillies allowed him to run.
In four seasons with the Phillies, Smith hit .321 with 163 Hits, 5 HR, 34 RBI, 60 SB
Career Stats: 1613 Games, 5170 AB, 1488 Hits, 98 HR, 533 RBI, 370 SB, 140 CS (73 SB%), .288 BA
2. Dick Stuart, First Baseman/Left Fielder, 1965
Who? Personally, I have never heard of Dick Stuart until now, when I ran out of Phillies to use. Who exactly is Dick Stuart? Known as "Stu" or "Dr. Strangeglove," he was vilified by the Philadelphia sports press for committing 17 errors.
Hitting numbers with the Phillies: 149 Games, 538 AB, 126 Hits, 28 HR, 95 RBI, .234 BA
Fielding numbers with Phillies:143 Games, 1119 PO, 98 A, 17 E, 100 DP, .986 FPCT
Started or part of 100 double plays? And your vilifying him for 17 errors? Those people in the Philadelphia sports press, must have overlooked his 1119 Put Outs and 98 Assists. So according to the Philadelphia sports press, they were mad because of the strikeouts and errors.
Number One: There's a catch, I could not decide on a clear cut number one "unknown" Philadelphia Phillie. So I will leave it up to you, the readers. Which one should be number one? I'll provide you the stats for each ballplayer listed below, en which you can make your decision.
Del Ennis, Outfielder, 1946-1956
About Del Ennis: A natural outfielder from birth. Played the majority of his career in Philadelphia as a Phillie or back in those days, as a Philadelphia "Blue Jay."
Born in Philadelphia in 1925, started his career in Philadelphia in 1946. At one point held the Phillies all-time Home Run record with 288 Home Runs, which was later surpassed by the great, Michael Jack Schmidt.
Career numbers with Philadelphia: 1603 Games, 6327 AB, 1809 Hits, .286 BA, 259 HR, 1160 RBI, Three time All-Star.
Career (Overall: 14 seasons): 1903 Games, 7254 AB, 2063 Hits, .284 BA, 288 HR, 1284 RBI
Billy Hamilton, Outfielder, 1890-1895
About Billy Hamilton: William Robert Hamilton known as "Sliding Billy," invented the modern day stolen base. Played during the "Dead Ball Era" of baseball.
Born in 1886, in Newark, N.J. Hamilton started his career as an amateur with the Kansas City Cowboys of the now defunct American Association.
Career numbers with Philadelphia (6 seasons): 729 Games, 2993 AB, 1079 Hits, .361 BA, 23 HR, 367 RBI, 508 SB
Career (Overall: 14 seasons): 1591 Games, 6268 AB, 2158 Hits, .344 BA, 40 HR, 736 RBI, 902 SB. Hit over .400 once (.404 in 1894), Hall of Famer (1961)
Ed Delahanty, Second Baseman, 1888-1889, 1891-1901
About Ed Delahanty: Edward James Delahanty known as "Big Ed" started his career with the Phillies in 1888. Played during the "Dead Ball Era" of baseball.
Born in 1867, one year after the United States Civil War (or in the South, "The War of Northern Aggression") had ended. Had four other brothers, all of which played baseball.
Career with Philadelphia (13 seasons): 1555 Games, 6359 AB, 2213 Hits, .348 BA, 87 HR, 1286 RBI, 411 SB. Hit over .400 three times with the Phillies (.407 in 1894, .404 in 1895, .410 in 1899). Hit over .370 six times.
Career (Overall 16 seasons): 1835 Games, 7505 AB, 2596 Hits, .346 BA, 101 HR, 1464 RBI, 455 SB. Hall of Famer (1945).
Here are some honorable mentions for you.
Jimmie Foxx, First Baseman/ Pitcher, 1945
Pancho Herrera, First Baseman, 1958-1961 (1958, 1960, 1961)
Willie "Puddin' Head" Jones, Third Baseman, 1947-1959
"Choo Choo" Coleman, Catcher, 1961
The next group of players to don a Phillies uniform are Hall of Famers (Bender all the way down to Alexander; that also includes Foxx and Bender above)
Chief Bender, Pitcher, 1916-1917
Joe Morgan, Second Baseman, 1983
Ferguson Jenkins, Pitcher, 1965, 1966 (non- consecutive years)
Kid Nichols, Pitcher, 1905, 1906 (non- consecutive years)
Nap Lajoie, Outfielder/ Infielder, 1896-1900
Eppa Rixey, Pitcher, 1912-1920
Sparky Anderson, Second Baseman/ Manager, 1959
Dave Bancroft, Short Stop/ Second Baseman, 1915-1919
Casey Stengel, Outfielder, 1920-1921
Hack Wilson, Outfielder, 1934
Chuck Klein, Outfielder, 1928-1933, 1940-1944
Tim Keefe, Pitcher, 1891-1893
Sam Thompson, Outfielder, 1889-1898
Elmer Flick, Outfielder, 1898-1901
Tommy McCarthy, Outfielder, 1886-1887
Tony Perez, Corner Infielder (First Baseman and Third Baseman), 1983
Dan Brouthers, First Baseman, 1896
Hughie Jennings, Infielder, 1901-1902
Llyod Waner, Outfielder, 1943
Hugh Duffy, Outfielder, 1904-1905
Roger Connor, First Baseman/ Outfielder, 1892
Grover Cleveland "Ole Pete" Alexander, Pitcher, 1911-1917, 1930
Granny Hamner and Garvin Hamner, 1944-1959 (Granny); 1945 (Garvin)
And there you have it. You are now richer in the knowledge of the Philadelphia Phillies history of baseball and their ballplayers.
Of course what do I know? I am just a knuckle-headed 19 year old kid.
Thanks for reading.
Brian McCollum writes for a blog called Philly Phans 4 Life. This article is featured in four parts on his blog. If you would like to contribute to the blog, contact Brian at: firstname.lastname@example.org.